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Last week I came across a great thought-provoking article by Carrie Hill on Search Engine Land outlining a few underutilised ways of implementing schema.

Much of the article was technical common sense until I read the words: Schema Now, Not Later.

Anyone that has read my previous posts on Econsultancy (especially those on the Knowledge Graph) will know of my love of all things structured, which is why it was such a joy to hear others lauding the virtues of schema.org mark-up.

The digital industry is continually evolving and as such it's vital that we marketers adapt and evolve our strategies accordingly. With search becoming more and more competitive (and at times, volatile) it makes sense to begin diversifying your tactics to give your brand a wider presence within the most visited channel in the world.

Schemas can help you today

Schema.org burst onto the search scene in June 2011, created by Bing, Google, Yahoo! and Yandex as a way of creating a single, standard set of schemas that they could all use to give meaning to HTML documents.

Since then schema,org has been utilised to offer up a number of rich snippets by the search engines such as:

These rich snippets are designed to give users a sense of what’s on the page in question, helping to improve CTR by giving more information on why it might be relevant to their query.

Not only is this a fantastic way of driving new traffic from organic search but it also allows us to move away from the “race to number 1”. If I can rank well with rich snippets, I’m going to get a large part of search share purely because of the enhanced listings.

‘You ain’t seen nothing yet’

Google has made it very clear that schema is something that you can expect to see more of in the future saying: “Not every type of information in schema.org will be surfaced in search results but over time you can expect that more data will be used in more ways”.

We have also seen other search engines such as Bing and Yandex step up their displaying of rich snippets, but that’s not the end of the line.

Yandex Islands 

Last month Google announced that, using schema.org mark-up, you will now be able to influence the logo displayed in the Knowledge Graph ahead of rumours that business panels are on their way.

That may seem pretty minor but when coupled with advancements such as Google Now, an intelligent personal assistant, you begin to see the power that mark-up could have.

Google Now currently uses the Knowledge Graph to populate data on entities and relationships - is it such a jump to allow businesses to mark-up location, a map and contact details of their offices to allow this Google agent to provide intuitive answers to users?

James Carson recently wrote a fantastic piece about how big data is changing the way we should be looking at search.

From signed in search data, Google+ and it's new sign-in authentication to Android usage, Google has the potential to make use of much more data than we give them credit for, so why would you not provide as much semantic data about your website as you possibly could to help them determine relevancy?

Working in search, it is our responsibility to advise clients and employers on future-facing strategies.

As such I believe that implementing relevant structured mark-up ahead of the curve is essential to gaining competitive advantage over those only planning from algorithm update to update.

Are you advising your clients to mark-up with structured data? How do you see advancements in this area going? Have you had success with rich snippets in reaching business goals? Let me know in the comments...

Andrew Isidoro

Published 13 June, 2013 by Andrew Isidoro

Andrew Isidoro is SEO Manager at GoCompare.com and a contributor to Econsultancy. You can follow Andrew on Twitter or connect via LinkedIn

7 more posts from this author

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Hannah Norman, Digital Marketing Executive at Koozai Ltd

Couldn't agree more with this post. Schema and Structured data are going to become much more important to a site than the typical Rich Snippet that we see at the moment. Especially when the likes of Google Now, and to a lesser extent Siri are using structured data in their 'Card' style search results!

Very timely post too. If anyone needs some good advice on how to implement the Markup on their sites I just wrote a post about it - http://www.koozai.com/blog/search-marketing/structured-data-markup/

over 3 years ago

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Carrie Hill

Hi Andrew,

Thanks so much for the very kind mention! I think one of the greatest compliments a writer can receive is that their words "provoked thought and contemplation" in readers!

Point of order, though - the article cited above, and linked to - is at Search Engine Watch, not Search Engine Land. I do write for SEL, but my topic there is Google Analytics, exclusively.

Again, so very grateful for your mention!

Carrie Hill

over 3 years ago

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Miriam Schwab

I love schema. It's one of my favorite topics these days. So much so that I gave a brief talk on it at SMX Israel 2013: http://www.slideshare.net/illuminea/introduction-to-the-semantic-web-smx-israel-2013.

We are working on implementing a number of schema by default on all sites - rel=publisher, rel=author, and breadcrumbs. The more the merrier from my perspective!

over 3 years ago

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Touch Point Digital

Absolutely agree. Schemas can be very powerful tools for any web page right now and will no doubt become more important in the future. They may not have a direct impact on rankings, but they most certainly have a direct impact on click-thru rates and traffic, and that's what is most important. Besides, adding schema markup to a page only takes a couple of minutes, if that, so there's no reason not to start using them immediately. --David

over 3 years ago

Glynn Davies

Glynn Davies, Senior Technical SEO Account Manager at LBi

Completely agree. Actually the Rich Snippet angle distracts somewhat from the real potential of Schema, and as our head of technical SEO here at LBi has said, the data highlighter tool in Google Webmaster Tools may suggest Google is getting impatient for wider take-up.

over 3 years ago

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Emma Willis, Marketing Assistant at Box UK

I agree Glynn although I think it's more than just Google wanting to speed up the process. They also want more "data" than their competitors.

With Data Highlighter they have a way of crowdsourcing the speeding up semantic adoption and have done so in a way that the data it provides is only available to them.

Very smart move G!

over 3 years ago

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